Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Little Help Please

Here are some of the strategies Daniel Smith used to try and overcome his anxiety as recounted in his book Monkey Mind, A Memoir of Anxiety:

Therapy - He had about six therapists. One actually pulled a diagnostic book off the shelf and read the questions aloud. Mr. Smith answered all  - difficulty controlling your worry? restless, keyed up or on edge? difficulty concentrating? irritable? muscle tension? etc. -  with a "Yes." The therapist responded: "I'd say there is something definitely off kilter." You think?

Breathe - Inhale for four counts through your nose; exhale for six counts through your mouth. This worked sometimes and for a while.

Books - In college, when he discovered Philip Roth, he felt an immediate kinship. Authors he avoided as too anxiety provoking: Faulkner, James, Cheever, Pynchon.

Chew - As in chew your nails down to the nail bed. Very painful and not really a cure. Besides, he writes, "My hands looked like they had been manicured by an immersion blender."

Hide out - He spent most of his first year in college in the basement of the library. He felt safe there. And then there were all those Philip Roth books to absorb.

Pills - One word: Xanax. He told his college roommate that they were vitamins for his heart.

Weep - Difficult to find a solitary place to cry when living in a dorm with a hundred other guys.

Alas, there may be more but I have been laughing too loudly to note them.

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